Dear Men, Take More Pictures.

I think a lot of us saw the post that went viral last year from the mom who said that men need to take more pictures of their wives.

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Photo Credit: ShaiLynn Photo and Film

Truth is, my Facebook feed is filled with photos of dads, boyfriends, children, and dogs, but we often don’t see the women behind the camera. As the post states, if girls don’t ask, the photo isn’t getting taken. You could argue that females might be a little more likely to update their Facebook feeds, but I also think it rings true that men are generally less likely to preserve the little moments of everyday life that many women enjoy having.

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I’ve never been very good at taking pictures. I always felt too “in the moment” to capture my life on camera — that is, until the deployment. Before Robert was deployed I took pictures of him cooking, playing games with me, driving, and on dinner dates. I took videos so I could hear his voice while he was gone, and I tried my best to get some photos of us together so I could remember everything. In all honesty, I don’t know what I would have done without those tiny pieces of him while he was overseas. My heart hurt every night he was away, but when insomnia struck I was able to pull up a picture or video that reminded me of the fun times we had together. I had funny moments, sweet moments, and even a few sad moments of us together on my phone.

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This was after the best weekend with Robert right before he flew overseas. Looking at this picture still makes me tear up, as it was the most heartbreaking “goodbye” I’ve said in my life.

If you look at my Instagram you’ll see photos I’ve captured of Robert in everyday life since. I took pictures of him while he was painting his new home, filling up his truck with gas on a road trip, and of how nice he looked when he got home from work. My iPhone is filled with pictures of dogs, my family, food — primarily dessert (Sorry Instagram) — and Robert. These are the most special things in my life, and I want to be able to look back on them 50 years from now and remember the little details my own memory might forget.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of Robert. In the first few months of dating I got Junior Mints to take to the movies. We accidentally spilled them in Robert’s seat, and he noticed them plastered to his butt before he went home. I’ll never forget moments like this, but I love having a picture that I can giggle at along with the story.

I am a hundred percent my own worst enemy when it comes to having my photo taken, though. Instead of embracing it, I blush and wonder why I need to be alone in a photo. I say “No thank you” when someone asks to take a picture of me, and my reflexes have gotten great at pushing a lens out of my face. From now on I am going to try my best to move past my own insecurities and ask to have my picture taken too. With dogs, by myself, and even when I’m tired and not wearing any makeup.

Instead of feeling like it will make me seem vain or be offputting, I am going to realize that having my photo taken too is just another piece of the puzzle for documenting a memory. That way when I get older and have kids of my own, I’ll be able to show the candid moments of myself as well as my loved ones, and will be included in all of the adventures, too. In all honesty I’m actually really nervous about committing to this, but I’m going to try to be a good sport and will start sharing the more candid, less than perfect photos on here too.

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Here’s to creating lots of beautiful memories with loved ones — and capturing a few in the process.

Fast Five: How To Choose Dating Profile Photos

People often ask me how to set up a dating profile that will attract the kind of people they are looking for. Here are a few of my standard tips for choosing photos for your dating profile:

  1. Choose a picture that makes you feel good and accurately represents what you look like on an average day. I started off using a few old modeling photos but ended up feeling a little insecure about them, as I don’t typically take the time to put on a set of falsies or contour my face for a date. I have a pretty natural makeup look, so quickly deleted those photos and exchanged them for some that I took on an average summer day. That way if we actually meet up I’ll feel great about my look going into the date!
  2. Your main profile picture should be a solo shot — nobody wants to have to scroll through and play detective trying to figure out which guy you are! Another good rule of thumb is not to use any photos of just you with a person of the opposite sex. Even though it’s “just your sister,” there’s no way for the girls looking at your page to know it’s not an ex. Even if you write that in your profile to clarify, some may not give you the opportunity to explain yourself and just swipe left to find a guy who is not hung up on a past relationship.
  3. Have a little bit of a variety. After you choose your profile picture switch it up a little by including some photos with friends (to showcase that you do, in fact, have some!), action shots of activities you love, and a selfie or two. This makes your profile feel incredibly real and personal.
  4. Use up-to-date photos that represent the person you are today. Despite still looking like a high schooler, my body has changed quite a bit since then, as well as my style. I’d say a good rule of thumb is to use photos that were taken within the past three years or so.
  5. Cater to the kind of audience you want to attract. For example, I like to include photos of myself with my dog so that I’m more likely to spark a conversation with a dog lover. I don’t post my more scantily clad swim photos, as I don’t want to attract someone who is only looking for a hookup.

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Lastly, don’t think too much about it and try to have fun! You’ll want to lead your conversations with your personality anyway, and we each have our own reasons we are so incredibly awesome. There will be people out there who will appreciate what makes you uniquely you; and when they do, shoot me a message so I can tell you “I told you so!”